I am continually amazed at the process of sanctification in my own life and God’s working in the lives of others. As of late I have been drawn to the parable in Matthew 20:1-16where Christ speaks to the disciples of God’s sovereignty and faithfulness. These promises of God extend to all who come to Him by faith. Even if the Lord returns tomorrow, those who came to faith yesterday will share in the same blessings and those who preceded us will not suffer loss.
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ 5 So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ 8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ 9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.”
There is much to be gathered from this parable if we have the ears to hear. What got to me this week on this was the type of people that were hired at the later hours … the ones skipped over before. These are the forgotten, the ones that were hopeless for a job and a full day’s pay. The drunk that slept it off, or the addict who sleeps until noon, the depressed that stumbled out of bed at the end of the day just to return again to his bed. The weaker worker that was not up to the full task but in the rush of the gathering is useful to the overall success of the harvest.
These were the ones hired at the last… overlooked and forgotten by the other master’s looking for their crews. Their blessing are the same. We are living in the last days and I see a firm grip of God’s working in the last few. I have seen the light in their face when they understand the grace they have been offered and the joy in their daily lives as they repent of their sins and follow the Way of the Messiah. But there I go, isolating “them” to a “group.”
In so many churches we have a tenancy to categorize or overlook the very people Christ died to save. We treat them as the outcast or worse yet, the ones we pity and “minister” towards. Here we have a group of people in the Church that are a part of the body and we treat so often with carelessness or callousness. This to me is a large call for inclusion of Christians into the Church, to worship side by side in the truth.
Perhaps we also need to be reminded is our flesh and earthly mindset will dominate if we allow it. Our flesh is weak and we find ourselves doing the very thing we set out not to do. All in the intention and selfish power of our flesh. But God uses these for His glory.
18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
So what should surprise us more? That we have a job to do hired by the master? or that we have so many untapped workers ready to help in the harvest. The harvest is ready and we need workers more than ever.
“Why is any one of us remaining idle towards God? Has nothing yet had power to engage us to sacred service? Can we dare to say, ‘No man hath hired us?” — Charles Spurgeon
Christian: What will you do with the idea that you are not alone in the worship of Christ? Are you willing to accept these brothers and sisters in Christ? What excuse do you use to not be a laborer in the field?
UnChristian: What it means to follow Christ is to recognize that we are sinners. We are separated from God because of that sin. But God, loved you so much that he sent his Son to live the life you could not live to be the sacrifice you could not give, much less even afford. Christ died to bring you life. Will you repent of your sins and follow Christ.